Free Slum Tourism: Sadistic Or Philanthropic Dissertation Proposal Example
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Slum tourism falls into what is generally termed “Poverty tourism.” Poverty tourism is a controversial element of international tourism in which outsiders (generally wealthier westerners in developing countries) are shown people living in destitute conditions, such as slums (Dyson, 2012, p. 261). Supporters of it believe that such exposure leads to poverty awareness and empowers those on the tour and lead them to action to help support efforts that mitigate the poverty, which they have been privy to because of the tour (Rolfes, 2014, p. 59). Opponents of the poverty tourism term, it as “poverty porn” and believe that it feeds into the same sadistic aspects of human nature that fuels the thrills of grotesque horror movies.
Statement of Problem
The problems of Slum Tourism is an ethical issue that has to do with the rights of those being viewed like animals in a zoo or a natural monument. If people have constructed dwellings in a slum, what right does a visitor to an area have to come to that slum in order to observe them like wildlife? If there are human benefits to outsiders coming to view them, do these benefits outweigh the violation of people’s right to privacy? These are the relevant questions in the problem of slum tourism.
Proponents of slum tourism tout the benefits that awareness has in helping energize cause which combat poverty. But does this exposure actually translate into actual mitigation of poverty and increased advocacy for the impoverished? Are most of these tours operated for profit, or do the proceeds go to help the problems of poverty witnessed in the course of a tour.
Review of Literature
A number of major publications have written about the dubious nature of poverty tourism and the controversy surrounding it. The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post to name a few, have all characterized such trips as morally controversial (Selinger and Outterson, 2009, p. 16).
Slum tourism is a relatively new phenomenon. But there has been in this century a growing market for affluent people visiting urban poverty. (Steinbrink, 2012 p. 221).
The slum featured in the film Slum Dog Millionaire has been a focal point for slum tourism. Peter Dyson in his article “Slum Tourism: Representing and Interpreting ‘Reality’ in Dharavi” looks at some of the merits of slum tourism, and believes that it is better than simply ignoring the poorer aspects of developing countries (Dyson, 2012, p. 272).
The methodology will be to sample major media articles, and to also find academic papers on the topic of poverty, and to conclude what is driving the slum tours in human nature, and what the outcome is for communities.
The significant implication in the focus of this essay will be what tourists on slum tours get out of the tour, and what drives them to begin with. Are they there to appeal to their sadistic sentiments or is it out of a genuine desire to learn about conditions of people living in third world poverty.
Dyson, P. (2012). Slum Tourism: Representing and Interpreting ‘Reality’ in Dharavi,
Mumbai. Tourism Geographies, 14(2), 254-274.doi:10.1080/14616688.2011.609900
Frenzel, F., & Koens, K. (2012). Slum Tourism: Developments in a Young Field of
Interdisciplinary Tourism Research. Tourism Geographies, 14(2), 195-212. doi:10.1080/14616688.2012.633222
Rolfes, M. (2010). Slumming: Empirical results and observational-theoretical
Considerations on the backgrounds of township, favela and slum tourism. Tourist experience: Contemporary perspectives, 59.
Selinger, E., & Outterson, K. (n.d.). The Ethics of Poverty Tourism. Retrieved January
27, 2015, from http://www.bu.edu/law/faculty/scholarship/workingpapers/documents/SelingerEOuttersonK06-02-09.pdf
Steinbrink, M. (2012). ‘We did the Slum!’ – Urban Poverty Tourism in Historical
Perspective. Tourism Geographies, 14(2), 213-234. doi:10.1080/14616688.2012.633216
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